User Research Incentives

User Research Incentives

Being a User Researcher, you know two things:

  1. People’s time is precious
  2. Requesting a chunk of that time can be a big ask

One of the main challenges you might face when planning robust user research is ensuring buy-in from the users you need to engage with.

After a bit of discussion about this, our team agreed that it would be right and ethical to offer participants of one-on-one user research an incentive to encourage their participation and to show our appreciation for their time and input. Offering incentives to user research participants is already common practice throughout the public sector, so doing it ourselves would bring us in line with the many other organisations who already do this.

We knew that we didn’t want to offer cash incentives, which could be misinterpreted as a payment for services provided and could have implications for any participants in receipt of benefits. So, I undertook some research to explore what incentives other public sector organisations are offering their user research participants. I found most organisations offer vouchers as incentives, from a range of different retail outlets, and offered rates ranging from a one-off £20 voucher for participation to £40 per hour for each hour.

We agreed on offering Love2Shop vouchers, which can be spent in over 150 high street stores, with a rate of £20 for up to 2 hours of participation and £40 for anything over 2 hours. We also needed a robust set of guidelines to make sure that we offer incentives in the most ethical and professional way. Here are the user research incentive guidelines I drafted with input from Welsh Government and WLGA (Welsh Local Government Association). These have since been signed off by the WLGA senior management team and are now being adopted by our team.

If you are considering offering incentives for user research in your own organisation, then feel free to use these guidelines to inform your approach, or if you have any questions contact me at tom.brame@wlga.gov.uk